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Drama: shops closed after merchant commits suicide due to debts

Shops in Drama, Northern Greece,  will remain closed for several hours on Tuesday to mark the tragic death of a local retailer. The clothing merchant committed suicide on Monday unable to deal with the growing number of debts.

“He was in despair, he feared seizure and foreclosure,” relatives told local media.

His colleagues decided to close their shops at the time of the merchant’s funeral.

The Commerce Association of Drama underlines the dramatic economic situation in the area that has led many local businessmen in despair and skyrocketed unemployment. According to Greek Statistics Authority, unemployment reached 27.2% in the broader area in November 2012. Here is to note, that unemployment data do not capture the self-employed, like shopkeepers.

Speaking to Egnatia Post, the president of Drama Commerce Association, Antonis Skoulidis, condemned the deindustrialization of the city, its isolation and the lack of support from the state.

“Merchants are in despair. Consumption depends only to local society. The city of Drama is cut off form the outside world. Hardly anyone comes here for a visit or for business,” he noted stressing that “since the deindustrialisation of the city for over 15 years, things are tragic.”

The situation is expected to worsen after two professional colleges (TEI) will be closed down and students will move away due to austerity-imposed mergers in education.

However, he did not elaborate how many shops closed down in the last three years of strict austerity.

Greece saw a sharp increase of suicides due to economic situation since country sought the IMF “rescue” mechanism, with the number of suicides to be estimated more than 3,000 people.

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